The Oklahoma City Thunder moved up to the third-best NBA draft lottery odds on Sunday night. On Monday, their downward progress was reflected in the national power rankings.
Only one of the five rankings used in this weekly segment does not have the Thunder at the No. 30 spot. With just one win over their last 22 games, it’s tough to argue there’s any team worse than Oklahoma City.
The Thunder have three games left on their schedule to try to ensure as good of lottery odds as possible. All that’s left is the Sacramento Kings, the Utah Jazz and the Los Angeles Clippers.
Here are the Monday power rankings from the five national outlets. Each was released Monday morning, so games from that night are not included.
ESPN: 29th (no change)
After moving down three spots in ESPN's power rankings last week, the Thunder remain above only the Houston Rockets. Based on Royce Young's assessment, they should probably be No. 30. Since the All-Star break, the Thunder's net rating is minus-16.1. They have been outscored by 490 points over their last 25 games, which is the worst margin of defeat over such time period in 25 years, according to ESPN and Young. Overall this season, the Thunder's net rating is minus-10.4, the worst in the NBA.
"The team they've fielded since the break has a legitimate case as the worst in NBA history."
It has helped Oklahoma City plummet up the lottery odds.
The Athletic: 30th (no change)
Last week, The Atheltic's Zach Harper predicted that the Thunder would end this season with a worse record than the Minnesota Timberwolves. Well, on Sunday night, they inched below the T-Wolves. Harper reflected on his beginning-of-season predictions in his latest power rankings. Prior to the start of the season, he had the Thunder at No. 22 in his power rankings.
"I predicted the Oklahoma City Thunder to be competitive most of the season and not bottom out. Then … they almost historically bottomed out."
He was half-right, as the Thunder were competitive until they decided not to be. But after trading George Hill and seeing Shai Gilgeous-Alexander go down with an injury, they benched Al Horford to embrace the tank.
"As of the trade deadline, the Thunder stood 13th in the West, but they were only a half-game behind the Pelicans."
They're now 14th in the West, but they're nowhere near the Pelicans team who was vying for a play-in spot. Now, it equates to the third-worst record in the league.
NBA.com: 30th (no change)
NBA.com reporter John Schuhmann consistently has the best stats through and through. Check out this beauty he found for the 2020-21 Thunder:
"They’re 21-48 with the point differential (worst for any team since the 2011-12, 7-59 Bobcats) of a team that’s 12-57, close to the all-time record (held by the 1985-86 Clippers) for the biggest differential between a team’s actual wins and its 'expected' wins."
Even when the Thunder's record was competitive, their point differential was poor, which contributes to this meteoric fall. Being in the same breath as the 2011-12 Bobcats (or any Charlotte Bobcats team, for that matter) and the 1985-86 Clippers (or pretty much any Los Angeles Clippers team prior to Blake Griffin) is not where you want to be. Even if the goal is to end up with the top draft pick.
Bleacher Report: 30th (no change)
Bleacher Report analyst Mo Dakhil focused in on two Thunder players in his latest power ranking.
"Darius Bazley popped, scoring 23.0 points, but he was not very efficient shooting 37.8 percent from the field.
Thunder fans also got a good look at the team’s most recent signing, Gabriel Deck. ... He is still getting his legs under him, but with an offseason of development, Deck could be another interesting player for the Thunder."
Deck has been one of the more intriguing parts of the final stretch. Signed in part to help the Thunder hit the salary cap floor, he looks like a player who could earn a roster spot next season.
CBS Sports: 30th (down 1)
CBS Sports reporter Colin Ward-Henninger moved the Thunder up a spot last week, but he quickly realized that they should, in fact, be at No. 30. Oklahoma City is back in the cellar of his power rankings.
"That's now 24 losses in their last 26 games, a tank-job of epic proportions after an unexpectedly solid start to the year."
He also mentioned Darius Bazley, along with guard Theo Maledon.
"This is valuable time for the development of players like Darius Bazley and Theo Maledon, but it would help to be in more than one close game per week. Oh well, the lottery balls will be plentiful."